måndag 1 maj 2017

The n00bcon 9 Top8

I guess having two weeks between the tournament and posting the Top8 lists is kinda old school. Some twenty years ago, we had to wait until the next number of Scrye, The Duelist or Centurion saw print to get a hold of the hottest tech. Us kids today with our newfangled phones and complicated shoes have become accustomed to far shorter feedback loops.

Anyways. Top8'ing n00bcon is a proper feat in Magic. It takes mastering one of the purest forms of the game against very diverse competition and decks. Even though this is a casual format and a casual atmosphere, it is undeniable that this attracts some truly masterful mages. In this top8, we have a slew of old Pro Tour players, a few national championship titles and over 150 years of combined Magic experience. We may say that we compete for a Giant Shark, but often the real prize is the pride and glory. These are the eight players that made the cut in the 2017 World Championship.
The n00bcon 9 Top8: Landgraf, Icelander, Glans, Gordon, MrSinclair, Cermak, Fluffy, and Hashi.
Let's check out their decks.
Gordon's UR Burn.
Gordon Anderson is a true community builder from Stockholm. Apart from hosting annual tournaments in his city (like The Ivory Cup and From Russia with Love), he spreads the word about the format via the Wak-Wak webpage, the OldschoolMtg twitch channel, and has recently started an Oldschool Magic podcast with Grant Casleton. Check out the first episode of Flipping Orbs here.

Gordon is a UR Burn player at heart. I'm sure that he would have played the deck regardless of how well it actually worked. Turns out that it works great and his passion for the deck helps him pilot it with consistent results. Gordon is almost a fixture in the top8s at the larger tournaments these days. But he rarely survives past round eight in a tournament, often due to misplays caused by intoxication. That is kinda funny. This is an endurance game.

Gordon says that the best cards in the deck are the Flying Men. During our game at the tournament he stated something like "Flying Men is the card that ties the deck together. It's like a Lava Axe for one blue, but better. Anyone not understanding the greatness of Flying Men in UR Burn is obviously a sub-par Magic player. Especially if they are named Karl." Well, Gordon has the stats to back that up ;)
Landgraf's The Deck.
Svante Landgraf is a self-proclaimed (and university-proclaimed) Doctor of Science Fiction. I think his actual PhD might say something about Literary Arts and his master degree is in Mathematics, but Doctor of Sci-Fi sounds more rad. He's one of the few 93/94 players from Linköping, which I frequently confuse with Lidköping. He is also something of a master across the board in Magic. I think that I've noted before that he won the previous Vintage national championship, but another fun fact is that he top8'd the national championships in pretty much all other formats that same year. Top that with a handful of Pro Tour appearances and a random GP Top8 and you find a really solid player with an extremely diverse grasp of how to play Magic.

Svante plays the latest and greatest version of The Deck. One interesting thing with this version is that it plays two maindeck Stone Rains. This tech was shared with fellow top8-player Martin Lindström, and 2016 World Champion Martin Berlin (who missed out on the top8 on tiebreakers this year).
Glans's UW Skies
Anton Glans is a super friendly eternal player from Örnsköldsvik in the Northern part of Sweden. A regular at the Vintage and Legacy tables at the various conventions across the country, usually showing of with rad and personalized brews. While writing this I did a quick googling of his name, and I realized that not only has he been a cross-fitter for over half a decade, he's also a cross-fit trainer and a frequent writer for crossfitovik.se. We have talked many times in many different settings, and I've never once heard about his training regime. So I guess I have to retire the old joke about cross-fitters constantly talking about cross-fit. Well played man.

Glans's deck of choice was UW skies, a sweet pile of Serra Angel, Serendib Efreet and Mahamothi Djinn backed up by white removal, blue restricted cards, and Moat. Two-off Mishra's Factory for the miser ;)
Fluffy's SuperDuperAttack Deck!
I've written about Martin "Fluffy" Lindström a couple of times before in the last year. He started playing 93/94 more frequently around last n00bcon, and just broke the format. He first played the n00bcon 8 warm-up tournament, which he won, and then finished second at n00bcon 8. His next tournament was BSK 2016 where he won yet again and picked up his first Giant Shark. Then he played at the Alara Games convention earlier this year and won that one as well. He was the only player with a 7-0 record after the swiss at n00bcon 9, and it almost surprised me that we didn't see him in the finals yet again. He's also a physically strong mathematician with some solid finishes from the Pro Tour in his CV.

All that aside, he is horrible at sending me decklists. So I just assumed what the deck he played looked like. To think like Martin, I checked the 1994 Pocket Player's Guide for info on building killer decks, remembered that he usually played five colors, and put together a pile that I'm sure is something similar to what he played. He feels like a creature kinda guy with a lot of luck on his side ;)

On a more serious note, this is probably more what his deck looked like:
Probably Fluffy's actual deck. Four books and a pile of restricted cards.
Fun fact is that Fluffy is one of the most vocal proponents of restricting Jayemdae Tome himself. The B&R update is btw coming in the next couple of weeks, and I think we've landed on this years changes by now. If you have any input or suggestions on the B&R you are as always welcome to send me a mail at delaval@gmail.com. But let's go on.
MrSinclair's The Deck.

MrSinclair is another fixture in the elimination rounds. He lost to Fluffy in the finals of last BSK, and was seen in the n00bcon 7 top8 before that. It is almost like this is a skill based game. MrSinclair has been playing since the early days and is a The Deck player at heart.

Among his more interesting choices are the main deck Mirror Universe and Red Elemental Blast. Sideboard Serra Angels also look like solid tech. Sinclair opts for Lightning Bolts rather than Stone Rains here, perhaps a better answer to opposing Factories, even though they don't pull double duty against Libraries or mana screw.
Cermak's UWGb Zoo.
Andreas Cermak is another player with a history of Magic going back well over 20 years. Though a relatively new player in the format, Cermak has been tearing up the meta with his take on four-color Zoo. Fresh of a victory at the Arvika Festival in February, he quickly followed that up by winning the Stockholm n00bcon warm-up tournament and claimed the 2016/2017 Rookie of the Year title. Kicking of the new season with a n00bcon top4 puts him among the top performing players in the format.

The core players in Cermak's deck are the trio of Savannah Lions, Argothian Pixies and Serendib Efreet. Erhnam Djinn and Serra Angel top of the curve, and the deck is glued together with the white removal suite and blue power cards. A fierce and quick deck with loads of powerful spells.
Icelander's The Deck
Erling "Icelander" Hansson surprisingly missed last year's n00bcon top8 on tiebreakers. Other than that, he has been in all of them in the last half decade. His last finals appearance before this one was at n00bcon 7. He is an extremely likable guy and yet a true master of playing The Deck. That playmat below his deck is btw one of the Worlds-mats Khalsa-Brain produced for the Magic World Championship in the mid 90s, where Erling was a member of the Icelandic team.

We see main deck Stone Rain and sideboard Serra Angels. Sweetest tech here is probably the sb Time Vault though. It is still kinda straight-forward for Icelander, this is a guy that has top8'd with a The Deck having Nicol Bolas as the win condition ;)
Hashi's Disaster.
And finally we have our new World Champion, Kristoffer "Hashi" Arlefur from Växjö and the glorious Team Kaffebryggers. Team Kaffebryggers is one of my absolute favorite teams in Sweden; a bunch of highly skilled casual player who really seem to just enjoy playing Magic. When you see them in sanctioned tournaments, it seems like they pretty much always hang out in eternal formats sporting tier2 pet decks, but playing them fiercely. They are the kind of guys that host Tribelander and 93/94 tournaments at their conventions and have higher attendance for casual formats than official ones.

His deck is of course glorious. The only thing it might miss is Vesuvan Doppelganger. And I must confess that I see some joy in having Juzam Djinns finally pick up a Giant Shark after a handful close calls. This is the real deal. Congrats man!

9 kommentarer:

  1. Good stuff. Sweet writeups, and thanks for all the kind words!

    SvaraRadera
  2. Wow. Did every deck have 4 Factories? Might be time to recreate actual 1994 and unrestrict Strip Mine.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Ha, yeah, I know where you stand on Strip Mine and Vise man ;) http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?29396-Format-Old-School-Magic&p=877311&viewfull=1#post877311

      Though very few people want to go back to a time where Balance and Mana Drain are unrestricted and Underworld Dreams and Berserk are restricted. The line needs to be drawn somewhere. We move around ours a little every year, but I don't think it's time for Strip Mine.

      Radera
  3. Yeah, I agree with Mg. Strip Mine should be kept on the restricted list.

    The case for Black Vise maybe another one, though. I do not think it would be an unhealthy move to unrestrict it.

    If I were to guess which changes to the restricted list you will be announcing in the upcoming weeks, this is where I would put my money on: unrestrict the Vise and restrict the Mishra's Factory.

    In my opinion, that would be a reasonable move. As much as I like the Factory, seeing it being played as a 4-of in almost every single top8-list of recent months or years may indicate the necessity for a change.

    It seems that many players are complaining about The Deck being to dominant. So removing The Decks primary win condition may help in that regard, too.

    The Deck would probably still be a top contender in a world of restricted Factories (The Tome maybe more crucial to its success than the Mishras), which I think is perfectly okay in a format called Old School.

    Just my two cents. :)

    Best Regards,

    Andreas ("Custer")

    SvaraRadera
  4. Yeah, that was actually very close to my own mindset a couple of months ago. After a lot of discussions and checking data I've swayed a little though. I think I'll post something discussing the current meta before we actually take the changes this year to spread the info a little more.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. That sounds good. :)

      Also, thanks for the nice write-up of n00bcon and for sharing the top8-decklists.

      Radera
  5. Anton Glans3 maj 2017 22:05

    Thanks dude, you're far too kind :). Awesome event as always! Ps. One day I'll tell you all about CrossFit and challenge you to a beer-burpee contest!
    /Glans

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. That sounds awesome :D

      Radera
  6. I am far from being an expert in that format but there is an idea that has been tried a bit in France to reduce Mishra's factory impact on the format : go back to the rule of those days namely 'when a blocking creature get tapped it does not damange the attacking creature', this way a blocking Mishra's factory is effectively a 0/3.
    This needs to be tested further but the first result was to promote somehow agro decks.

    SvaraRadera